Vacations to Book Now for Christmas Break
Christmas is a time for family and friends, but that doesn’t mean you have to celebrate at home. Taking Christmas on the road can be an eye-opening way to experience how other countries and cultures celebrate one of our most treasured holidays. Whether you’re traditional or all about having fun, there are plenty of places around the globe that throw amazing Christmas celebrations. From the beach parties to ancient traditions, these are our top five vacations to book for Christmas 2019.
New York City, USA
It doesn’t get any more festive than New York City at Christmas time. The snow is falling, millions of lights are twinkling, and holiday traditions are thriving. The giant Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is an eight-decade-old tradition and is the city’s heart and soul during the holiday season. Gazing at the tens of thousands of twinkling lights and Swarovski-crystalized star on top will instantly jump start your holiday cheer. No Christmas in New York is complete without a visit to the holiday markets. These are New Yorkers' favorite places to eat, shop, and ice skate during the holidays. Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park hits all three birds with one stone; free ice skating, 150 holiday shops, and plenty of eateries. Grand Central Holiday Fair and Union Square Holiday Market are two others not to be missed. Once you’ve had enough gift-buying, stroll down 5th Avenue and check out the elaborate Christmas window displays in stores like Saks and Bergdorf’s. Last but not least, enjoy a performance of The Nutcracker, a holiday classic put on at the famous Lincoln Center.
If you don’t like the snow and cold, get out of the northeast and head south. Following the devastating effects of Hurricane Dorian, this island nation is in need of TLC. Keep in mind that The Bahamas is made up of 700-plus islands and cays, and many of its most popular destinations were unaffected by the hurricane. Head to Nassau this holiday season and be part of the recovery efforts while indulging in a tropical paradise. Catch the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Pompey Square or stroll the local markets for the perfect gift.
Embrace hygge this holiday season in Copenhagen, where you'll find Scandinavian style meeting all the comforts of a cozy Christmas. Popular Tivoli Gardens turns into a veritable winter wonderland, with holiday-themed rides, decorations, and attractions. Meanwhile, the Nyhavn harbor lights up with Christmas lights and crackling fireplaces that you can enjoy as you stroll with a cup of hot gløgg. Wander one of the city's many Christmas markets sampling sweet holiday treats and looking for some Scandinavian design trinkets to gift your loved ones back home.
Byron Bay, Australia
Beach bums and backpackers flock to this popular beach town for the holidays to take advantage of sunny skies and warm weather. Travelers who are away from home during Christmas find plenty of comfort on Byron Bay's sandy shores. The sun is hot, the waves are breaking, and the party on Christmas Day is the perfect combination of fun and laid-back. This relaxed destination will make your holiday stress melt away as you stretch out on golden beaches. Escape the typical Christmas cold front and find your tan in that Southern Hemisphere sun.
Thousands of miles away from the beach party in Australia, Italy’s Vatican City hosts a more traditional Christmas celebration. It’s truly a magical time to be in the country, specifically in the capital of Catholicism. Visitors are catapulted back to the old-ages with chestnuts vendors on every corner and nativity scenes in many of the churches and squares. The life-sized scene created in the center of Saint Peter’s Square is especially festive. Purely unique to Vatican City is midnight mass with The Pope at the Basilica of Saint Peter on Christmas Eve. This event attracts thousands and tickets sell out months in advance. However, the event is broadcast live on jumbo screens in the square where anyone can come and watch. The Pope also makes another speech on Christmas Day, which is free and open to the public. Last but not least are the Christmas Market. There are several huge markets just outside the Vatican in Rome, the biggest one being at Piazza Navona where you can almost see the Christmas spirit swirling in the air!
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